Monday, September 15, 2008

Good Digital Citizenship

In the September 2008 issue of T.H.E. Journal, they featured an article entitled "Text Unto Others" by Matt Villano. It contains an interesting sidebar with Mike Ribble's 9 Steps to Building A Good Digital Citizen. Here are his steps below. I think that commerce and etiquette are my top two. What do you think?

"Etiquette. Ribble says educators must go beyond setting acceptable use policies and teach students how to act responsibly. "Etiquette to me is how we interact with each other. Kids need to know that when they use technology. They need to keep in mind how they're using it in relation to everyone else."
Communication. Ribble says it's important for educators to teach students which digital communication options are most suitable to use in certain circumstances. "In the olden days, you wrote something and that was it. Now it's more of a conversational thing, which means new norms apply."
Literacy. Ribble says digital citizenship must involve educating students about a variety of new programs and applications, and how those technologies should be used. "Just because students leave school at 3 p.m. doesn't mean they stop learning about digital tools. This is a way to make sure they are at least familiar with much of the new technology they'll come into contact with outside of school so they don't misuse something down the road."
Access. Ribble says that educators should work to ensure that the bounties of the digital world are available to every student-- regardless of gender, race, or physical or mental challenges. "There are a lot of great things technology can do, but we need to make sure everyone has access to them."
Commerce. With an increasing number of goods being sold online, Ribble believes educators must teach youngsters how to be effective consumers. "This doesn't only translate into the capacity to differentiate between legitimate and illegitimate vendors; it also means knowing when to avoid illegal or immoral goods or services such as pornography and gambling."
Law. According to Ribble, educators must teach students about online ethics: that hacking information, downloading illegal music, plagiarizing, or causing damage to other people's work, identity, or property online is a crime. "Students need to understand that there are laws out there, and that their use of technology can affect them in legal realms."
Rights and Responsibilities. Just as the Bill of Rights protects individual freedoms, Ribble says a basic set of protective rights extends to every digital citizen. "Students need to know they have these rights, but with them comes a responsibility to be mindful of laws, too. By emphasizing these things, teachers can ensure that students won't take their digital rights for granted."
Health and Wellness. Ribble says students must be informed that excessive technology use can lead to a spate of medical issues, such as repetitive stress injuries and bad backs, and psychological problems like internet addiction. "There are still schools that buy computers, put them on folding tables, and put folding chairs in front of them. Does that approach give students technology? It does. But students need to avoid using it in ways that ultimately could put them at risk of physical harm."
Security. Ribble says educators must teach students about the importance of antivirus software, data backups, and surge protectors. "Security is one of the most often overlooked pieces of technology. We need to teach students that just because they're careful with their computer doesn't mean the security of that machine hasn't been compromised somewhere along the line."

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